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Linda audsley - Design Narrative - Two day coaching programme for engineers

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Linda Audsley
3 April 2013

This is two day ‘introduction to coaching’ module, delivered as part of a leadership programme to first line managers in an engineering organisation.


In general, people have heard of coaching although most of the participants have had little experience of either providing formalised work-based coaching or being formally coached (except within sport).


The outcomes of the task, was to ensure that by the end of the two days, participants would be aware of and have practised ‘coaching skills’, recognised and utilised one coaching framework and experienced co-coaching through a range of practical activities including ‘perceptual positioning’.


The steps required to design the programme were to:

  1. Ensure that all the agreed goals and outcomes were written in a measurable form for future evaluation and validation
  2. Draw up a programme that built upon the skills, knowledge and behaviours in logical steps, identifying the objectives of each topic/session.
  3. Draft out rough timescales for each session.
  4. Identify through boardstorming - drawing on experience, a broad range of  activities available to meet the session objectives
  5. Select the relevant activities that would meet both individual needs and the session objectives most succinctly and effectively.
  6. Review the programme and adjust activities/timescales accordingly.
  7. Create appropriate evaluation sheet for participants
  8. Write up a ‘trainertrack’ for future reference for me or colleagues, to ensure consistency.



Always expect the unexpected is the mantra for all learning professionals, and flexibility is a mainstay for this type of programme.

Once participants have added their objectives to the organisational ones, there is a need to adjust the programme to meet these too, without raising expectations beyond the realistic.

 As always, there is never enough time, equally the activities that one assumes will take the least amount of time to run, often take the longest and vice versa. Every group is different, so there can be no expectation that the programme will be delivered identically for each group.

 The organisation’s objectives take priority and are always covered (that is what I am paid to deliver) and in this example, I achieved most of the participant’s objectives too (mainly because they generally tied in with the corporate ones). Apart from covering coaching skills, in the first programme, we also went off piste and had a brief foray into Transactional Analysis and a little time spent on ‘eye accessing cues’ (neither or which I had planned to do).

We rarely have the magic number of 12 participants and didn’t on this occasion which does make the triad exercises more difficult to manage – groups of 4 take longer than 3 and groups of 2 suffer from not having an observer to give feedback. None of these are major issues – just ongoing niggles. The programme content received positive informal feedback during the two days and this was confirmed in the written feedback at the end of the programme.

I cannot quote from the written feedback, however, my request for  informal anonymous feedback from the group resulted in an overall score of between 8-10 out of a top mark of 10 for the two days.


The biggest difficulty with this type of programme is knowing what to omit. A two day course does not lend itself to covering the topic in substantial depth. It is the problem of superficiality which always leaves me feeling a little frustrated. I can see that most of the participants have gained from the sessions, but I’m always horribly aware of what has been excluded to fit the timeframe available.

This is rarely the view of the participants, who ‘don’t know what they don’t know’ – it’s just that I do!

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